Fairbanks’ Bailey rises to the occasion in senior year with University of the Pacific
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Former Monroe Catholic High School standout Jeremiah Bailey is excelling at the NCAA Division I level. His dream of becoming a DI basketball player has become a reality, and he is making the most of it. The 6-foot-6 University of the Pacific forward made a statement in the opening game of his senior season, pouring in a career-high 25 points in a 66-60 win over the University of California, Riverside on November 25.
Turning back the clock, Bailey’s performance at the 2016 Alaska High School State Basketball Tournament lifted the Rams to a third place finish, where he earned All-Tournament honors. After averaging 12 points and 9.5 rebounds per game his senior year at Monroe, the Fairbanks-native aimed towards warmer weather, signing to Pima Community College in Arizona. In his lone season with the Aztecs (2017-18), Bailey averaged 11.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals to fill out the stat sheet. Pima went on to boast a 31-5 record, reaching the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Championship game, where Bailey was tabbed as an All-Tournament member. His accomplishments and talents at the Community College level propelled him to the Division I ranks, signing to Pacific (Stockton, California) of the West Coast Conference in May of 2018.
Bailey is now coached by former National Basketball Association (NBA) guard Damon Stoudamire, who spent 13 seasons playing in the best league in the world. In his junior season with Pacific, Bailey saw the court for about 20 minutes per game, scoring 180 total points while hauling in 92 rebounds at a 39.8% clip from the 3-point line. He saw less playing time his junior year, where the Tigers went 23-10 on the season. He was listed at 203 pounds when he joined the Tigers and has bulked up to 220-lbs his senior season, and it shows. In Pacific’s most recent game against Montana State, Bailey muscled his way to 10 rebounds (3 offensive, 7 defensive), matching his career-high. Bailey has blossomed into a player who can score at all levels; inside the paint, mid-range and from behind the arc. He is also a versatile defender, able to guard multiple positions on the floor. In the early portion of their season, Bailey leads Pacific in total scoring (47 points), defensive rebounds (15), 3-pointers made (7), 3-point percentage (46.7%), steals (5), blocks (2), free throws made (12), free throw percentage (75%) and minutes (96).
Next on the slate for Pacific (2-1) is a visit to Fullerton University on December 19. In October, the NCAA Division I Council announced that winter sport student-athletes who compete during 2020-21 will receive both an additional season of competition and an additional year in which to complete it, meaning Bailey may return to Pacific next season.
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